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Wade says ankle is fine, plans to play Tuesday

- Associated Press - Monday, February 21, 2011

MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade's sore right ankle is not sore enough to present a problem for the Miami Heat.

Wade was able to practice Monday and pronounced himself ready to go when the Heat open their post-All-Star schedule at home Tuesday night against Sacramento _ one of several pieces of positive news Miami got when it reconvened to start the final 26-game stretch of the regular season.

"I don't want to miss any time," Wade said Monday night. "It's not serious enough to miss any time."

Wade aggravated the ankle midway through the third quarter of Sunday's All-Star game when he tried an acrobatic pass and landed awkwardly. He left moments later and did not return.

Wade acknowledged that he was worried for a few moments Sunday night, but once the acute pain subsided, it was clear that the problem was minor.

"I think he's more tired than he is sore," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I think this was a tough turnaround for these guys to get in at 7 a.m. today and bounce back at a 5 p.m. practice. That makes it tough probably for your body, getting on a normal East coast clock."

For Miami's All-Star contingent _ Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, along with 3-point shootout champion James Jones _ some rest is still surely in order.

All-Star weekend _ loaded with sponsor events, business meetings and then the game itself _ proved hectic for everyone.

Even with Wade sitting the game's final 17:02, Miami's three representatives logged much more playing time Sunday than Boston's four All-Stars. Celtics coach Doc Rivers had Wade, James and Bosh play an average of about 24 minutes, while Boston's foursome of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett logged an average of 14 minutes.

Spoelstra wasn't bothered.

"The minutes in one particular game, that doesn't affect anything, big picture," Spoelstra said. "These guys are young."

James played 32 minutes, the most of anyone in the game for the second straight year.

Both the Heat and Celtics play on Tuesday, though Miami's All-Stars needed to make a cross-country flight home to get ready for Sacramento, while Boston's only had to make the quick trip to northern California for a game with Golden State.

"Man, I'm 26 years old," James said. "I don't go out to All-Star weekend to sit on no bench during the game. I want to play and I want to win. Me and Doc talked and I was fine with playing as many minutes as I did. I hate to come out of any game. I don't care if it's a recreation game in the summertime. I just love to play."

So Wade was feeling good, James was feeling good, and forward Mike Miller was feeling better.

From the Heat perspective, that's significant progress.

Spoelstra said tests have concluded that Miller did not have a concussion despite taking blows to the head three times in a five-day span before the break. Miller did some shooting Monday, was held out of practice and will not play Tuesday _ but could be in the lineup as soon as Thursday when Miami visits Chicago.

"I feel good right now and I'm just waiting for them to let me play," said Miller, who added that he has no problems other than a nagging cold.

And forward Udonis Haslem, who hasn't played since November because of a ruptured ligament in his foot, was on the court with his team _ in basketball sneakers, not a walking boot _ for the first time in months on Monday.

It was more of an appearance than anything else. Haslem still is targeting a late March return, though that hardly seems guaranteed and his rehab process has several more significant steps.

"It's still real early," Haslem said. "Right now I'm taking it day by day. When I'm ready, I'll know."

Miami (41-15) is percentage points behind Boston (40-14) for the East's best record, is two games ahead of Chicago in the conference race, and 5 1/2 ahead of Orlando in the Southeast Division.

"We're into the final sprint and our focus is not just generically getting our game right," Spoelstra said. "We want to improve and reach another level, reach higher or another two levels, which we're capable of. And I think that makes us unique than most of the teams contending. We don't necessarily know what our ceiling is."

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